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Eating Healthy While Traveling

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

Eating healthy while traveling is perhaps one of the most difficult jobs that a health-conscious individual may encounter. Between tight traveling itineraries and the foods that are available, more often than not even those who are health minded will find they have fewer choices than the family who will just swing through the nearest fast food restaurant. Thankfully, however, there is a way to ensure that even while traveling you can avoid the lapse into unhealthy eating. This could be for long term travel like vacations or even just short jaunts away from the home.

Tips for Eating Healthy ‘On the Go’

Brown Bag It. Whether you are looking at a full-scale lunch or just snacks, the best (and least expensive) way to eat healthfully while traveling is to pack your own snacks or lunches. Mind you brown bagging your food does not usually work if your travel involves airports, but for cars, busses and trains a carefully planned lunch or snack can save you money and guilt. Of course if you plan on eating your own lunches you will need to plan your stops accordingly and opt for rest areas or public parks instead of strip malls or convenience stations for your meal breaks. For packing snacks and meals I like LunchBots. They are perfect for veggies, fruit, and sandwiches. I also like to take Lara bars with us for snacks on the go.

I also REALLY like the stainless steel food containers from Fill Your Own. The blue container in the photo above is from this Canadian store. It is from their Panda Play collection. I packed these up recently with cherries and other fresh foods for us to take with us to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I have no qualms about taking outside food into these places because the food they offer there is terrible. I either put them in my purse or in one of the matching reusable bags that Fill Your Own sells. Snacking on cherries and Lara bars during the movie beats popcorn for sure.

Choose Wisely. When traveling it is a fact that ‘fast’ food is often the most convenient. But just because you are pressed for time – or because it the most accessible – doesn’t mean that you have to settle for unhealthy choices. If packing a lunch is not an option and you really are pressed for time, there are plenty of healthy choices when it comes to ‘fast food’ restaurants. Subway and Chipotle are two restaurants that come immediately to mind when thinking about healthier food choices. At Subway I will get a 6 inch veggie sub and at Chipotle I get a vegetarian burrito bowl. For family meals I also really like Bob Evans because they have fresh fruit plates and yogurt as meal choices for kids and adults.

Plan Ahead. Many times poor eating habits while traveling isn’t necessarily about a lack of time – or even a lack of choices – but rather a lack of planning. You rush and rush in order to get ready, but fail to eat breakfast before you leave for the airport, or bother to pack a snack for the drive, and so it is easier to just pull into a fast food joint or grab a quick bite at the airport. By planning ahead and eating before you leave, or scheduling a real dinner for after you arrive, or packing a lunch for while you’re on the road, you can avoid many unhealthy food choices.

Your choices may be limited while traveling, but you do still have choices, and no matter what your mode of transportation, you can still exercise your will power when it comes to healthy eating options and rest assured that you don’t have to stop eating healthy just because you are on the road.

What is your favorite way to deal with meals on the go or eating healthy while traveling?

  • Mommaluvy

    I just got asked to leave a kids museum in Georgia for taking outside food in! But they had a McDonalds down stairs and sold coke and candy in the gift shop. Whaaa? They could not show me where it was written in their rules.

  • Mommaluvy

    I just got asked to leave a kids museum in Georgia for taking outside food in! But they had a McDonalds down stairs and sold coke and candy in the gift shop. Whaaa? They could not show me where it was written in their rules.

  • Kate Stillman

    We always research local co-ops, health food stores, and sustainable or allergy friends restaurants before going to a new city. We bring what we must (or can), and plan out our activities based on the places we find where we can eat! It takes planning, but we don’t have to worry about eating!

  • Karen Burmett

    Those Fill Your Own containers are so cute!  Can they hold liquidwithout leaking?  I currently use foogo containers to send the kids to school w/ cut up pear or apple in OJ to prevent browning.  Cleaning the lid of the container is tough and I’m starting to notice build up on the inside rim of the container.  Have been looking for a replacement and these look perfect.  Thanks so much!  Karen

  • I LOVE taking my lunch!   I have been doing that for 17 years and have not only saved money and eaten better, but there is much less stress at lunch time with traffic, crowds and waiting!  Thanks for a great post!

  • Rachel Emrath

    We have to have somewhere indoors to eat when traveling b/c we currently have a heat index of over 100 and eating in the car is not an option with small children, but we’ve found the choices at Jason’s deli to be wonderful.  I just found one along our route before leaving!

  • Michelle G

    We pack food all the time. Even if it’s just to run errands on a day we know we’ll be out awhile. We just make everyone sandwiches, cut veggies and fruit and put them in containers and take granola bars. Kids are willing to snack on most anything when they’re hungry, so by the end of the trip they manage to finish all the goodies.

  • Nicole

    My guys are 7 & 5 and we always pack food with us… I love that when we are on the road the boys will say, “we’re really hungry again! Can we find a grocery store and get something else??”. I have no problem stopping to go wander around the fruit & produce sections =)